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Wealthy Consumers Rate Bang & Olufsen, Bose, Nakamichi Top Luxury Audio Brands

Consumer audio is one of the most hotly contested categories, with many expert opinions on which brand has the best reputation. But wealthy consumers report that they mainly trust what their peers say. In the latest Consumer Audio Luxury Brand Status Index survey from the New York City-based Luxury Institute, Bang and Olufsen (score of 79) edged out Bose for first place as the most prestigious brand, as ranked by America’s wealthy. Bose scored 78; Nakamichi scored a 73.

“The Consumer Audio brands category has scores of brands vying for wealthy households. Many of the wealthy are audiophiles who only buy top-of-the-line, yet most also acquire well-known audio brands,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO, the Luxury Institute. “We mapped the entire category by brand reputation using the voice of wealthy consumers to gain an understanding of awareness, and the perceived differences among the world’s leading audio brands. Brand reputation with the target market has been rated by executives as one of the most critical metrics a brand can measure over time; and there is no consumer more likely to buy more in volume and value than America’s wealthy consumer. These are your best prospects and customers.”

Thirty-one brands were rated including: (alphabetically) Acoustic Research, Advent, Bang and Olufsen, Bose Corp., Boston Acoustics, Cambridge SoundWorks, Cerwin Vega, Clarion, Denon, Harman Kardon, JBL, JVC, Kenwood, Klipsch, LG, Logitech, Marantz, Nakamichi, NEC, Onkyo, Panasonic, Philips, Pioneer, Polk Audio, RCA, Samsung, Sanyo Fisher, Sharp, Sherwood, Sony and Yamaha.

The proprietary Luxury Brand Status Index (LBSI) is the only measure of the value and equity of leading luxury brands to wealthy Americans, based on statistically meaningful data collected from wealthy consumers themselves. The LBSI incorporates four main “pillars” of value:

  1. Consistently superior quality,
  2. Uniqueness and exclusivity
  3. Enhanced social status
  4. The ability of a brand to make a customer “feel special.”

Seven point scale ratings are converted to a 0-100 scale.

In addition to individual and composite metrics by age, gender, income and net worth segments among the wealthy, the survey measures a brand’s ability to merit a significant premium price and the correlation of price premium worthiness with the composite index of the four critical factors. Another critical metric feature of the research is a rating by wealthy consumers as to a brand’s erosion or enhancement over the past year.

Using LBSI, the Luxury Institute surveyed a nationally representative, statistical sample of more than 400 households with a minimum of $200,000 in gross annual household income and minimum household net worth of $750,000 (including home equity). Brands rated are selected with the assistance of leading industry experts including manufacturers, retailers and journalists.

About the Luxury Institute
The Luxury Institute is the uniquely independent and objective research institution that focuses solely on the top 10 percent of America’s wealthy. The Institute provides a portfolio of proprietary publications and research that guide and educate high net-worth individuals and the companies that cater to them on leading edge trends, wealthy consumer rankings and ratings of luxury brands, and best practices. Publications include the monthly Wealth Report, the Luxury Brand Status Index surveys, the Luxury Best Practices surveys and the Luxury Consumer Experience Index surveys. To reach the Luxury institute, please call 646-792-2669 or go to

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